Part of being a mom is always having a backup plan.
My kids are great (if you don't believe me, just ask me). They know there is always a chance we will need to come up with a plan b.
There have been multiple times we have gone all the way to plan G.
How do you teach this? Well, life is full of disappointments. Every day brings a new opportunity to re plan, re think and learn.
Just since Christmas there have been many opportunities to remind my children of this. About a year ago we bought a time share. We didn’t get much use out of it the first year, but now we utilize it often. We spent our week in Branson, Missouri. We had never been there and were excited at the prospect of a new adventure.
When we plan a big trip like this, typically a mission trip, everyone has a job to do. This time my son was to find gas stations along the way, Big girl was to find grocery stores (so we could cook and not eat out every meal), and Baby girl was to help me find fun things to do.
My son had a route picked. This route went all the way from home to Branson. Lots of gas stations picked. Not all of them were open. One had a sign for .89 cent gas! Wow! One had a bathroom so disgusting I would not allow my daughters to step into it. He did a great job finding gas stations and we never had to look on the gps for one. I like doing this because a gps will not always be available, children need basic map reading skills.
Big girl found five grocery stores near the condo. One had to be a Wal-mart/Target – just in case. Turns out that one of the small stores was right across the street, and we ever had a need for anything else. I also went very prepared.
Finally, Baby girl and I had nearly three dozen places to visit. Some free, some nearly out of our price range. Branson has a lot of shows. There are dozens of shows every day. There are a few things you cannot find about these shows online. One is if it is appropriate for children. The second is what days the theater is closed. I’m glad we had so many places to visit. It turns out that from Dec 26- sometime in January; a lot of theaters are closed. Supposedly due to a lack of visitors. I couldn’t understand that since the entire town was full of people from out of state.
Ok, so no shows.
Plan C. Let’s go to the hatchery. That was so much fun! Plus it was free. My favorite. We paid just a little for fish food, but that was less than $2 total. Besides history and science we got to see the workings of the hatchery, why they do what they do, and see the various sizes of fish (and lots of vultures too! My favorite.)
After the hatchery, it was time for lunch. Since we didn’t get to go to the dam and all our plans had changed, we decided to go downtown and wander. There are a lot of fudge shops in Branson.
While we could have been disappointed, and sad we looked at it this way – now we know where it is, and have an idea of what to do next time.
There have been other times as well. Times with a little more impact on them. A few summers ago Big girl was getting ready for her first year of sleep away camp at church. Brother was packed, she was packed. The night before she was supposed to leave, she wasn’t feeling well. In the morning she woke up with a 104 fever. She completely missed the week of camp.
Plan B – mommy camp. After she was better, we went to dollar movies, did camp crafts and did a lot of baking. I planned some extra fun stuff to help make up for her not going, but she was a big girl and didn’t cry (after the first day) about not getting to go. God had a plan. We just don’t know what that plan is.
Now, I know that this is difficult with smaller children. I also know that some children do not accept change very well (like my friends son who is autistic). There are times when I prefer to ‘surprise’ my children instead of telling them the plan. This way if the plan changes they are not disappointed. They never knew about plan “A.” Part of life is adapting and overcoming (Marines – hoo rah!), and getting on with life instead of letting the little disappoints ruin your day.
What I have done to help my children adapt to the inevitable changes:
1. I don’t let the change of plans get me upset.
2. Let them help with a plan B. Sometimes we come up with super silly plans that could never happen (like going to mars if we can’t go to the bowling alley)
3. Always have a plan B. You never know when the rain will ruin a park day….
4. Reward your children (even just verbally) for acting in a mature way when they accept the new plan.
5. Always have extra back up. There have been times when plan C doesn’t work. Then plan D is a fail and we are on to plan F. At that time I am usually scraping the bottom of the bucket, but there is always another plan.
6. Children will learn from your actions. If I am totally broken hearted and upset that we can’t get in to lunch at a certain place, the kids will act the same way. If I say ‘no biggie, now we can try….’ They will catch on to my attitude and behave similarly.
7. Fake it till you make it. Goes right with #6. I’m not always excited about a change of plans. Sometimes that change is very unwelcome. Even so, I pretend like I am excited. Eventually I don’t have to fake it and I get more excited about the new plan.
With all this in mind – just remember that the #1 most important thing is your attitude. It’s contagious.